Bump, Stop, Yield

Well, apparently there is a benefit of aging. I did not know this could happen, but it is happening, so, logically, it can, eh? (Hm. "Eh?" I must be becoming a Canadian after my recent frustration with the medical world in the USA.)

The benefit of aging is that the frustrations and vicissitudes (I love that word), the various setbacks and challenges, the "changes and chances of this mortal life" are speed bumps I still have to drive over sometimes, but either my suspension is better than it used to be or I'm a better driver or the bumps wear down over time. Maybe it's a combination of all three things. Maybe after awhile we realize that we can be calm when a bump is coming because we'll be able to be okay as we go over and when we get to the other side we'll still be driving. Whatever it is, today I have and can see that I have:

1. Control over my own medical decisions (somehow, waiting until Friday and taking care of it myself feels right - I feel safe - I'm okay) I stopped at the sign, but now I'm going again.

2. An ankle bone. That has a lot to do with the feeling of being okay. I can see one of my ankle bones again, and my really nasty bruising is turning green and yellow. Now it's not just a joke foot, it's a joke Halloween foot. It's lovely, I assure you. (If someone made a painting out of the exact colors of my foot right now, people would view it and feel a bit ill and not know why.)

3. School assignments. I talked to my instructor yesterday, and now I have everything I need so that I can get on with my study while my multi-hued foot is propped up.

4. Gainful employment. This injury came at a really bad time. I've got hours and hours scheduled at the library this month, and there are training days for the rest of the staff and there are staff members out of town, and so they'll even take me all lame and weak and feeble. (phew!) I hated losing out on the hours, and I really squirmed at saying "no" after I'd already said "yes" and I do love the people I work with. They're so nice to me.

Yesterday I felt like a helpless child again. I really did. The bullying adults were implacable. I could not get answers or help or even simple understanding from anyone. Asking questions that do not have answers already on the forms ... well, it's not done, that's all. It's just not done. (The insurance phone girl's perfunctory, "I understand your frustration," was one of the most aggravating social lies I've heard in a long time.)

But today I don't care anymore. I'm a grownup again, and I'll choose my next few moves because grownups get to do that. I'll also vote for ANY CHANGE to the current insurance and medical office system because ANY CHANGE is at least getting the thing to move or crack or wobble a bit, and ANY CHANGE makes it possible to make more changes.

By the way, do you know the one thing law makers aren't willing to do? The one thing that would probably make all the difference we need to make for a long time with our system? They aren't willing to insist that all insurance companies be run as non-profits. That one change alone would make such a huge difference, we'd hardly recognize ourselves. T. R. Reid is probably right. We probably will need to have a one state at a time example set before anything big will happen, but if we made the insurance companies non-profit, made it necessary for them to cover everyone, we'd have nearly solved all our payment/fee/escalating costs problem. We really would.

I'm a better driver now than I was in my youth. Speed bumps don't panic me (or, not for long anyway), stops can be accomplished and the journey resumed, decisions can be made at crossroads, and narrow bridges can be traversed. I can even find my way out of dead ends if I happen to turn down one.

On our first date, my husband turned down a dead end, and as he made the circle in the street and started back out again, he said, "I've always wanted to know what was down this street." The thing is ... it was not just a joke to cover one of several awkward moments in that marvelous day. Even when he didn't know a street existed before he finds himself on it, he does want to know what's down there. Not all who wander are lost - but it is okay to get lost sometimes. I'm finally becoming a good enough driver not to panic about it. I've always wanted to know what was down this street.

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